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Kitty Kallen

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Kitty Kallen (born on May 25, 1922) was an American popular singer, who sang with a number of big bands in the 1940s, coming back in the 1950s to score her biggest hit, 1954’s “Little Things Mean A Lot”.

Born in Philadelphia to a Jewish family, she won an amateur contest as a child doing imitations of some singers of the day. When she brought her prize (a camera) home, her father refused to believe her and thought she had stolen the camera, so he punished her severely. Later, when neighborhood people came to congratulate her father, he realized that her story was true. Subsequently she sang (while still a child) on The Children’s Hour, a radio program sponsored by Horn & Hardart, a firm which had a chain of cafeterias in New York and Philadelphia. As a pre-teen she had her own program on Philadelphia’s WCAU, and soon she sang as a vocalist with the big bands of Jan Savitt in 1936, Artie Shaw in 1938, and Jack Teagarden in 1940. (While with the Savitt band, she briefly was a roommate of Dinah Shore.) She married Clint Garvin, who played clarinet in Teagarden’s band, and when Teagarden fired Garvin, she left as well. The marriage was annulled. Kitty later married Budd Granoff, famous publicist, agent, and TV producer. They were married over forty-five years, until Budd’s death. After a short stay with Bobby Sherwood, she joined the Jimmy Dorsey band, replacing Helen O’Connell. Though only a teen-ager at the time, she was the vocalist for one of Dorsey’s big hits, “Besame Mucho.” Most of her singing assignments were in duets with Bob Eberly, and when Eberly left to go into the service toward the end of 1943, she joined Harry James’ band.

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